I have been trying to figure out what I am doing with my writing life. So I am making lists, hoping that they will lead me somewhere.
ProseWithin the past several years, I have written pieces on Tolstoy's War and Peace, Austen's Mansfield Park, Bowen's The Heat of the Day, Bronte's Shirley, and Dickens's David Copperfield. I have written what may be related essays on Dickens and inspiration; du Maurier, Baldwin, Woolf, and reading clutter; and family stories and the vagaries of memory. I have written a long review of the new Norton sonnet anthology and a shorter review of Milly Jourdain's forgotten collection Unfulfilment. Some of this stuff has been or will be published. In addition, I have written a short essay on being a college fuck-up for the Haverford alumni magazine. I have plans to write more obsessive-rereading essays on Eliot's Mill on the Floss, Mary J. Holmes's Victorian pulp novel Millbank, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I am also thinking of writing about Blake, though I don't obsessively reread his poems.PoetryI have written a long narrative poem called "The Myth of Phaeton" and am working on an even longer one called "The White Bear." I have written ten or twenty sonnets of varying quality, a poem about a Custer-era massacre, and a few lyrics about marriage and frustration. Very little of this material has been published. Since my Milton overload, my ability to compose lyric poetry seems to have been severely compromised. Too early to tell if this is a good thing or not.
Sometimes I feel as if I get nothing done, as if I am the world's biggest time waster. Clearly these lists show that this is not true, yet in my daily life I still see myself as hugely unproductive.